Livin' the Dream

Livin' the Dream

About Me

I am a sophomore at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, majoring in journalism. My passion is cycling. I am a category 4 bike racer and my absolute dream would be to turn pro one day. My more realistic goal is to become a journalist for the sport of cycling and eventually move on to become a broadcaster for the sport.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah: Behind the Scenes Stage 1

        The Tour of Utah (TOU) has finally started. I woke up in morning giddy with excitement. The race was finally starting. All of the prep days where over, and now the real job began. Picking up signs and sand bags. It does not sound all that fun, but it is. I get to ride in the back of the caravan, which is pretty awesome

The Start

            Rich and I arrived at the start line two hours before the start. It was a beautiful cool morning with a few scattered clouds. We gathered cases of water and the crew’s lunches from the food truck and put our truck into position at the end of the rear caravan vehicles. Then we attended the caravan drivers meeting. Technically speaking our sweeper truck is outside of the caravan, but it is good to know what goes on. I stayed for a few minutes, then left to go see the riders. Turns out I should of stayed because they passed out mini profile maps of all of the stages. Rich tapped his to the steering wheel just like the teams do in their team cars. So pro.

Caravan drivers meeting
            As I walked back to the truck after wandering around for a while. I saw Chris Horner walk out of a coffee shop. He rode up to the corner and began looking around with a confused look on his face. I knew what he looking for, the team buses. I spoke up and said “Hey, Chris you looking for the team buses. Chris said “Yeah” and then I gave him directions. Chris said “Thanks man” and then road away. Yeah, I just gave a Vuelta champ directions. Pretty sweet, right!

Everything is heavier at 10,000 ft

            Finally, the race started and it was on. The riders flew out of town with race radio reporting speeds of 40 mph, on a flat road, for the first 10 minutes of the race. The riders were going insane. Finally, things calmed down once the break went up the road. The signs Rich and I pick up are course arrows and A-frame cardboard signs that have the KOM, Sprint, and Feed Zone information written on them. This job is no walk in the park because we are always jumping out of the truck, taking down the signs, and jumping back in the truck. When I say jumping in and out I mean it, at least for me. A Ford F-350 is pretty high up.

            The first KOM of stage one at Brian Head climbed up to over 10,000 feet. To say least everything is harder when you are high up. I would pick up a sign that would maybe take 10 seconds and when I got back in the truck my heart was racing.

Beautiful Brian Head
The Finish

            The finish of stage one had four finishing circuits in Cedar City. The rear of the caravan would only do the final circuit so Rich and I hopped out of the truck to watch the race zoom by. I stood amongst the soigneurs from the teams offering bottles to the riders. The riders would come zooming by mere inches from me. It was pretty sweet. Rich and I got on to the back of the field with the rest of rear caravan one the final lap and picked up the signage on the circuit. We met up with the rest of the crew at the 1K to go arch. We helped them take down the arch and then found a grassy field to do our sign sort. Our daily sign sort includes off loading the signs and sand bags from Rich and I’s truck and putting them back into the course advance trucks. After our sign sort was done we made the picturesque drive to Panguitch where stage two would start.

            For dinner the crew went to a smokehouse café where the food was amazing. We waited around for 1.5hrs for a table, but most everyone agreed it was worth the wait. I wrote this post this morning before stage two because last night I ate way too much and got a bad stomachache.

            Stage one of the TOU was like a postcard. The views were absolutely amazing. Make sure to check out my slideshow below. Most of the pictures are landscapes. For stage two I will try to get more of behind the scenes of the race.


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